A Perfectly Good Day – Ruined!

 

The son recently collided with “What If?’
Somebody rear-ended him on his way home from work.

He left work at 7:30 AM.  Four or five blocks down the 4-lane, cross-town thoroughfare, he realized he’d forgotten his drink thermos at work, and went back to get it.  Back on the road again, he was soon humming along in the center lane, in light, 8 AM traffic.  Suddenly the car, two vehicles ahead, came to a complete stop, to make a left-turn across two lanes of oncoming traffic.  The car behind it slammed on its brakes, and the son managed an abrupt stop.  He just had time to look in the rear-view mirror to see a windshield way too close.

THUMP!!

Damn!

Now the What If kicked in.  What If I hadn’t gone back?  I’d be home, safe, having a snack.

The other driver works in the next city, 15 miles away.  He was also coming home after a midnight shift – a little tired, a little distracted, with perception, attention and reflexes a bit slowed.  The son lifted the tailgate, and used the big, flat storage surface as a writing desk to exchange information.  We both have the same insurance company, just different brokers.

Neither driver called the police, but someone must have.  Soon, a sport-brute, Police power-wagon pulled up behind them, and Officer Zygote turned on his flashers and climbed out.  The son said, “I felt like John Wayne in True Grit.  Hell, I’ve got work-boots older than this kid.  Is he really old enough to drive that thing?”

He spoke to the cop first.  They were just finishing when a steady drizzle began.  He and his co-worker passenger sat comfortable and dry in the back under the improvised awning, while the other two exchanged info in the rain.  It’s not the vehicle damage that’s the biggest piss-off.  The insurance company will pay to fix that.  It’s the lost time, and bureaucracy.

Already 30 minutes behind, the officer told them that they had to go to the Police Accident Reporting Center on the south edge of town.  The son dropped off his co-worker, and drove another 20 minutes to get there.  With COVID, you don’t just walk in and report.  There’s a sign on the door, instructing people to text an extension.  You are assigned a number, and wait your turn.  Thinking that there would be a delay, the son called home to report, and woke me.

He was immediately called in, and had to tell me that he’d call and explain later.  Cute, little, blond, female, Special Reporting Constable took his report, and slapped a Police sticker on the bumper.  She was impressed that he had all the necessary information at hand.  Car accidents do not bring out the best in people.  Many of them stumble in, not sure of their own name, much less the other driver’s, licence plates, insurance policy numbers, etc.

Now the clerical haze began to thicken.  First, the son re-called me, and explained.  When he arrived home, it was after 9:00 AM, so he called the actual insurance company.  Then he called the broker, and talked to the agent.  Then he called his passenger to tell him that he was now part of an official accident report, and might get a call from police and/or the insurance company.  Next, he chose one of the two authorized repair shops, called them, and drove over for an inspection and repair estimate.

Damn these all-electronic cars!!  Two of the three back-up proximity sensors don’t work.  The impact is barely visible to the naked eye, but the entire wrap-around bumper may have to be replaced.  A June-bug splat may take $2000/$3000 to fix.  We might never know the final cost.  The insurance company will pay, and the agents can argue it out.

On the way home from the body shop, the son heard a traffic report on the radio.  We have a report of a collision in the center, westbound lane, Victoria at Chestnut.  Property damage, but no report of injuries.  Be careful in that area.  The son said, “That was over an hour ago.  I’ve been home twice since then.  I always wanted to be on the radio, but not this way.”

Since the car would be in the shop for several days, he had to call a car-rental agency to arrange for a replacement.  He took a pain reliever and a muscle relaxant.  The wife told him to call the Chiropractor, who had an immediate opening, and took him in, but he had to later call the insurance company again, and speak to the Personal Claims clerk to get this, and continuing treatments, covered.

What if?  What if??  What If??!  Like the story of how a wasp in a car caused an accident and killed three passengers, such a tiny irritation has caused so much chaos and confusion.

***

We lost our handicapped parking permit.  We took it from our car, and put it in the rental.  When we returned the rental to the body shop, we both forgot to remove it.  A week later, some woman in a parking lot got pissy when we pulled into a handicap spot.  “Where’s the permit??”  The repair shop staff deny ever seeing it.  The young man from Enterprise, who retrieved and cleaned the rental, claims it wasn’t there.  Today, we begin the arduous bureaucratic, and possibly expensive, task of replacing it.

Flash Fiction #250

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

THE LONG, SLOW CLIMB

When is a Starbucks not a Starbucks?  When it’s right across the street from the city hall, but in a building that’s designated Historic, on which they can’t hang any exterior signs.

He’d studied welding in Community College, till he found out about clothing fires, toxic fumes, and blindness from ‘welders’ eye.’  Waiting for his barista betrothed, he was soon as adept as any employee, and was quickly hired, himself.

COVID slashed their hours and income in half, but it did give him free time to study online, as a Civil Engineer.  Education is the best way up and out.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a visual prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Missing Punch Line

A man walks into a police station and tells the desk sergeant, “My wife’s gone missing.”

The desk sergeant says, – “How long has your wife been missing?”

-The man replies, “About a month.”

The desk sergeant says, “A month?! Why are you just reporting it?”

The man answer, “- “I can’t find any clean clothes.”

***

The newly married man asked his bride, “Would you have married me if my father hadn’t left me a fortune?”
Darling,” she replied sweetly.  “I’d have married you no matter who left you the fortune.”

***

12 Commandments For Seniors

#1 – Talk to yourself. There are times you need expert advice.

#2 – “In Style” are the clothes that still fit.

#3 – You don’t need anger management. You need people to stop making you mad.

#4 – Your people skills are just fine. It’s your tolerance for idiots that needs work.

#5 – The biggest lie you tell yourself is, “I don’t need to write that down. I’ll remember it.”

#6 – “On time” is when you get there.

#7 – Even duct tape can’t fix stupid – but it sure does muffle the sound.

#8 – It would be wonderful if we could put ourselves in the dryer for ten minutes, then come out wrinkle-free and three sizes smaller!

#9 – Lately, You’ve noticed people your age are so much older than you.

#10 – Growing old should have taken longer.

#11 – Aging has slowed you down, but it hasn’t shut you up.

#12 – You still haven’t learned to act your age, and hope you never will.

And one more:

“One for the road” means going to the bathroom before you leave the house.

***

Jokes That Ring A Bell

Is it true that telemarketers don’t have managers….
….they have ring leaders?

Is it true that it only takes one telemarketer to change a light bulb….
….but they have to do it while you’re eating dinner? 

Is it true that the hobbit set his cell phone to vibrate….
….because he was afraid the ring would give him away?

The other day I had a call from a telemarketer in Egypt….
….I think they were trying to sell me on a pyramid scheme. 

If a zombie was a telemarketer….
….would you call him a dead ringer?

Did you hear about the crow who worked as a telemarketer?….
…. He was fired for Just Caws.

I have a friend who really enjoys his job as a telemarketer….
….it seems he has found his calling.

Last week I went fishing for telephones….
…. but they kept ringing off the hook.

The other night I left my phone under my pillow and when I woke up it was gone and there was a $5 bill in its place….
…. I think might have been the Bluetooth fairy.

I just can’t picture myself….
….without a camera phone.

***

A man rushed into a busy doctor’s surgery and shouted, “Doctor! I think I’m shrinking!” The doctor calmly responded, “Now, settle down. You’ll just have to be a little patient.”

***

A lawyer’s dog, running about unleashed, beelines for a butcher shop and steals a roast.

The butcher goes to the lawyer’s office and asks, “If a dog running unleashed steals a piece of meat from my store, do I have a right to demand payment for the meat from dog’s owner?”

The lawyer answers, “Absolutely.”

“Then you owe me $12.50. Your dog was loose and stole a roast from me today.”

The lawyer, without a word, writes the butcher a check for $12.50.

A few days later the butcher receives a letter from the lawyer: “$45 due for consultation”.

***

There were three restaurants on the same street. One day, one of them put up a sign said, “The Best Restaurant in the City.”
The next day, the second restaurant put up a larger sign which said, “The Best Restaurant in the World.”
On the third day, the smallest restaurant put up a small sign which said, “The Best Restaurant on this street.”

***

 

Flash Fiction #236

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

FAIR TRADE

How do you get down off an elephant?
You don’t!  You get down off a duck.

I got a dog for my wife.
Seems like a good swap.

I saw a sign that said, Watch For Children.
I thought, that’s a fair trade.

Maybe I could get the Traders to exchange some new jokes for these old ones.  I would trade two weeks of COVID isolation for a fortnight visit to Wilmington, NC, to see how it took 75 years for Southerners to trade their insecure, racist bigotry, for acceptance, and peaceful coexistence.  It’s still not perfect, but it’s better.

***

Join the merry band of Friday Fictioneers.  Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple https://rochellewisoff.com/ site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Flash Fiction #226

Scam

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

BETTER TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE

I came off the Parkway, to surface streets, and at the top of the ramp stood a 30ish female with a sign saying

Homeless and Hungry
Anything will help

Seat-belted in, guys can’t reach wallets. Women with purses are good marks.

Clothes are neat and clean – there’s an insulated bag, stuffed with something. Under/behind it is a $125 backpack, better than mine. Its carry-handles tied around a sign-post, is a Wal-Mart bag full of groceries, including four cans of Campbell’s soups. It’s hard to make those up over a campfire.

I’m not saying she’s a scammer, but she looks it. 😳

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

Smitty’s Loose Change #12

Smitty's Loose Change

We (the wife) have acquired a new medical specialist, a Physiatrist (fizz-eye-aah-tryst). This is a term invented by another doctor in 1957. It originally was an alternative to physician, or GP, to distinguish from the growing horde of specialists. Over the ensuing 60 years though, it has come to refer to a doctor who specializes in pain management and control.

He recommends and co-ordinates with chiropractors, osteopaths, massage therapists, and physiotherapists. He can prescribe specific medications, but usually leaves it to the patient and their GP. He can recommend exercises for specific muscle groups, for home, gym or physio sessions. As a last resort, he is trained and authorized to administer injections of analgesics or cortisones.

His clinic is not – and may never be – authorized to administer the long-term, IV-drip, pain-med infusions that I drive the daughter 60 miles every 8/9 weeks to get.

***

I recently got a phone call from a polling firm, working on behalf of my electricity supplier, Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro. While seeming simple, the questions were actually rather confusing. They wanted to know why I had chosen K/W Hydro, and what it would take for me to recommend them to another potential user.

They asked about draws, perhaps one or more customers could have their monthly charge written off. The finances are a closed system. It takes X amount of money to purchase and distribute power. If one (or more) people don’t have to pay, then the rest of us all have to pay a bit more. I don’t want to pay any extra, and, if I were to win, I’d feel guilty about the rest paying more.

Then they asked about rebates. If they can afford to give rebates, then they’re overcharging us. The final suggestion was to donate money to charity. It’s a feel-good idea, but, either they’re overcharging, or we’re all going to pay more, to finance that scheme.

I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but the truly bizarre thing about all this is that they hold a monopoly. No other power-supply company can operate in this district. We have Hobson’s choice – take it, or else. The only other options are to freeze in the dark, or buy a Honda generator at Home Despot. And, my bill went up to help pay for this useless survey.

***

I’ve been translating German names again. Some of them give cause for wonder/amusement.
Einwechter = one – of a half. One what?? Of a half of what? I suppose the Germans know.
Kieswetter = cheese weather – which is a sky overcast with small, dark, chunky clouds that resemble cheese curds. How in Hell you get named after rain clouds, I don’t know. No wonder these people tried to conquer Europe – Twice

Kieswetter

***

Arbitrary

How you’ve heard it: “His bookshelves are organized in a totally arbitrary way. “What it means: Random, erratic, unpredictable, not based on coherent logic whatsoever.

It may be unpredictable to you. It may appear erratic, but it is not random! ‘Arbitrary’ means selected, or chosen. The books on the shelf may be arranged by size, by color, by the number of pages, or even in reverse alphabetical order of the authors’ first names. You may not see the order. You may not agree with the logic, but the owner arbitrarily chose it. He may even have chosen random.

***

My neurologist, the guy who probably saved my sight – the doctor who was willing to throw me in the trunk of his car and drive me 60 miles to a hospital specializing in eye health – has been charged with 34 counts of sexual harassment, and had his medical license revoked. I did not see that coming.

***

We recently survived another Federal election. One of the son’s co-workers asked him – based on the number of lawn signs – who he felt would be the winner in our neighborhood. The son replied that it looked like Re/Max Realty was out ahead, with Century 21 close behind. The son held out hope for a young upstart named Butter Tart Festival, holding a revival meeting at a local tourist trap. The worker protested, “Aren’t you ever serious?” “Sometimes.” “See, there you go again.” Ya just can’t win.

 

Flash Fiction #193

box-office-ted-strutz

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

ETAIL/RETAIL

The world, she is a-changin’. Nothing is sure but death and taxes, and a photo with two adjacent signs which say ‘Pine’ ‘BOX’, make that evident. Did Amazon become successful because retail chains failed, or are retail chains failing because Amazon successfully serves the market?

Where does Amazon get all its boxes? Where stores were once required to compress and dispose of cardboard packaging, now my garage is full of little boxes. Amazon could come around and pick up a bunch of ‘em.

I bought a cross-cut shredder to protect from identity theft, but I won’t buy a damned compactor.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

Flash Fiction #189

Signs

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

I’VE SEEN THE SIGNS

When the Europeans came to North America, the natives did not own the land. They felt the concept to be silly. Land was like the air – ever and unending. Groups might squabble about who could live or hunt on some portion of it, but The Great Spirit had put it there for all to share.

The White Man soon taught them about ownership and possession. Corporations and governments, which also didn’t “own” the land, sold chunks of it to groups and individuals. Soon, the walls went up, and then the fences – first stone, then split rail, and finally, wire fences.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

***

After the fences came the signs – signs meant “to keep all the other people out, and to keep Mother Nature in.” Click to hear the Five Man Electrical Band decry the restrictive commercialization of our land and society.

Friday Fictioneers

 

It’s Not Catching

Doctor

Doctors at a hospital in Brooklyn, New York have gone on strike. Hospital officials say they will find out what the doctors’ demands are as soon as they can get a pharmacist over there to read the picket signs!

***

Marriage is like a deck of cards.  When you start out, all you need is a couple of hearts, and a diamond.  After a few years though, you’re hoping for a club and a spade.

***

I called the animal shelter today and told them that I’d found six kittens in a suitcase in the woods.  They asked, “Are they moving?”  I said, “I don’t know, but that would explain the suitcase.

***

A professor at the University of Oklahoma was giving a lecture on ‘Involuntary Muscular Contractions’ to his first year medical students.  Realizing this was not the most riveting subject, the professor decided to lighten the mood slightly.  He pointed to a young woman in the front row and said,  ‘Do you know what your asshole is doing while you’re having an orgasm?’  Her answer: “He’s probably at the shooting range with his buddies.”

***

A drunken man with a suitcase and a newspaper arrives at the railway station and sits on a bench near a priest. The drunk takes a bottle of whisky out of his bag, drinks a lot of it and then reads the newspaper quietly. At one point he asks the priest:

“Excuse me, Father; do you know why people get sick with spondylosis?”

“Of course”, the priest answers in a cold and sarcastic courtesy. “The factors that cause spondylosis are: a messy life, the companionship of doubtful-quality women, the excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco, drunks ending up in brothels… All these lead to spondylosis”.

“Wowww! I would never have believed that…” replies the drunk and then reads his newspaper again.

After the priest thinks for a while at what he said, he again addresses the drunkard, but this time in a gentle tone:

“Excuse me, I didn’t mean to offend you. How long are you sick with spondylosis, my son?”

“Me? No, Father… I’ve never been sick with it. I just read in the newspaper that the Pope is sick with spondylosis…”

***

A woman was arrested and fined for bringing her own popcorn, candy and soda to a movie theater.  The good news is that she came out a few bucks ahead of if she’d bought it all at the snack bar.

 

A Drive In The Country

pig

The difference between men and women in one
paragraph:

A man is driving up a steep, narrow mountain
road. A woman is driving down the same road.

As they pass each other, the woman leans out
the window and yells, “Pig!”

The man immediately leans out the window and
replies, “Bitch!”

They each continue on their way, and as the
man rounds the next corner, he crashes into
a pig in the middle of the road.

(The sad, real joke about that, is that it took FOUR more paragraphs.)

***

The past, present, and future all walk into a bar. It was tense.

***

A 75-year old man went to his doctor’s office
to get a sperm count. The doctor gave the man
a jar and said, “Take this jar home and bring me
back a sample tomorrow.” The next day, the
75-year old man reappears at the doctor’s office
and gives him the jar, which is as clean and
empty as on the previous day. The doctor asks
what happened, and the man explains, “Well, doc,
it’s like this. First I tried with my right hand,
but nothing. Then I tried with my left hand, but
nothing. Then I asked my wife for help. She tried
with her right hand, but nothing. Then her left,
but nothing. She even tried with her mouth, first
with the teeth in, then with the teeth out, and
still nothing. Hell, we even called up the lady
next door, and she tried with both hands and her
mouth too, but nothing.” The doctor was shocked.
“You asked your NEIGHBOR?” The old man replied,
“Yep, but no matter what we tried, we couldn’t
get the damn jar open!”

***

Great Signs

In a Dry Cleaner’s Emporium:
“Drop your pants here.”

On an Electrician’s truck:
“Let us remove your shorts.”

On a Butcher’s window:
“Let me meat your needs.”

In a Beauty Shop:
“Dye now!”

On Maternity Room door:
“Push, Push, Push.”

In a Veterinarian’s waiting room:
“Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!”

On the side of a firewood delivery truck:
“Fulfilling all your burning desires!”

At an Optometrist’s Office:
“If you don’t see what you’re looking
for, you’ve come to the right place.”

On a fence:
“Salesmen welcome. Dog food is expensive.”

Outside a Muffler Shop:
“No appointment necessary. We’ll hear you coming.”

Outside a Hotel:
“Help Wanted. We need inn-experienced people.”

In the front yard of a Funeral Home:
“Drive carefully, we’ll wait.”

On a Music Teacher’s door:
“Out Chopin, Bach in a minuet.”

On the door of a Computer Store:
“Out for a quick byte.”

***

Don’t Piss me Off. I’m running out of places to
hide the bodies.

***

Atheism is a non-prophet organization.